don't write this off so quick.
Have a look at the Windows 8 Forums.
The Windows 2 Go or windows on a stick seems a starting point for this type of stuff --AND it WORKS too.
The base install loads to your USB drive / usb stick -- and then when you boot from it (It;s a proper running Windows system -- not an "Install" type of operation -- it will find and initialize hardware as far as it can on ANY computer.
I've used this stuff on at least 4 or 5 totally different machines and it's worked EVERY time. Windows 8 To Go - Setup on a USB Flash Drive or USB Disk - Windows 8 Forums
OK slightly different application but you should be able to get the idea. A Generic OS could control 1000's of devices.
You need to "extrapolate" a bit beyond what the OS delivers today and what it *Could deliver* in the future.